Brazil preview quotes - Caterham, Marussia, Red Bull & more 22 Nov 2012
After the newest venue on the calendar, the paddock moves rapidly south to one of its oldest - Sao Paulos Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos - for a season finale that will decide the destiny of the 2012 drivers title. Those involved in the Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2012 discuss their prospects
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 19th, 2011 Race - 16th
"Interlagos is a good place for us to end the season as it's one of those tracks where anything can happen. It looks like there could be rain every day and that'll mean picking the right strategy will be key to performance - time the stops right and you can take advantage of whatever happens in qualifying or the race. The track itself is also quite tricky. It's pretty narrow in parts and you need to make sure you get your lines right or it's very easy to make a mistake.
"It's also fair to say the Brazilian race has one of the best atmospheres of the whole season. The fans are incredibly passionate about Formula One, they're very knowledgeable and the turn the whole weekend into a giant party in the stands. It's pretty cool on Sunday when you're on the gird and all the stands are bouncing - it really is a cool place to race F1 cars."
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 15th, 2011 Race - 10th
"The last race of the season is Brazil, a track that's a good challenge and one where anything can happen. Last year I finished in the points and while that may not be an easy task for us this year, it's still something we want to fight for. With the weather forecasts for Sunday we might see rain so that could make it a really exciting end to the season right up and down the grid.
"Technically the Brazil track is pretty interesting. You need to have really good traction to power out of the slower corners and you need to make sure you have the setup right for the long flat-out run from the last corner, past the pits and into turn one, giving you a chance to pass other cars as you head towards the start of another lap."
Giedo van der Garde, Caterham test driver
"This will be my final FP1 run of the season and it's on another track I haven't driven on before, but I've done the usual preparation on my simulator so I'll be up to speed quickly. It looks like it's a pretty technical track and one that everyone tells me has a fantastic atmosphere so I'm looking forward to getting out there and picking up where I left off in Abu Dhabi after two really good days in the car."
Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 24th, 2011 Race - DNF
As we head into the final race of season, its quite unbelievable that its almost over once again. Having said that, Brazil is always quite an eventful race where anything can happen, so at the front of the field the championship could be quite exciting yet. For us, our usual objective since the last few races, which is to try to hold position and finish the year by getting the very best from the whole package. Should be an exciting weekend.
Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Its hard to believe that this is the final race of my debut season. Since the mid-point it seems to have flown by, probably because we have been making such good progress as a team and we went to every race looking for more. Thats what well be hoping for in Brazil too; although we made some good steps in Austin, it wasnt all straightforward and the race was tough because of the damage I got into Turn 1. We have a good package but there is more of it to come still I think. I hope we can keep moving forward until the end and bring home the result we need. It will be the best reward for the whole team.
John Booth, Marussia team principal
As reluctant as we were to leave Austin after a very enjoyable debut race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, we head to Brazil with a lot of eager anticipation. It is a favoured race destination for the team and there is a lot riding on the weekend across the whole sport. We are obviously fighting our own battle for 10th in the constructors championship, but while we still need a strong weekend, where we are today and what we have achieved thus far should not be overlooked. We held 10th for the first five races of the season, and the steady progression we have made since the mid-season enabled us to not only get it back but also hang on to it for the last six races. There is a feel-good factor about the whole team at present because of that and although this race marks the end of the season, it feels like this is just the start of some very positive times ahead for the Marussia F1 Team.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 2nd
The 4.3km circuit will this year stage the world championship final. That will be exciting because at Interlagos you have a combination of passionate fans, driving anti-clockwise, bad bumps and extreme altitude. The thin air makes it tough for the engine, because Sao Paulo is located 1000m above sea level, so it costs us about 40hp. The long left turns put an extreme burden on our neck muscles, because of the centrifugal forces that are created from driving anti-clockwise. So Im doing special workouts for Sao Paulo, to build up my neck muscles and get them used to it.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 1st
Brazil is a great way to finish the year. It's one of my most favourite weekends because of the history with the drivers they've had; Senna, Piquet and Fittipaldi, these guys did a huge amount for the sport. Interlagos is a legendary circuit, it's got a great atmosphere, theres always been a bit of drama and also there is always a bit of weather floating around. It's a Grand Prix that I have done well at in the past. It would be good to have a smooth weekend with no issues, a clean start and the car running smoothly for the whole weekend, then I'm sure we can finish the season very strongly.
Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 11th, 2011 Race - 8th
The last race in Austin was looking very positive to begin with, but after my pit stop I just could not get the tyres to work, so Im hoping that the conditions in Brazil will suit me better. I enjoy the circuit, but at the same time its quite tricky because of the undulating layout and there are some unusual corners. Its also quite a tough track on your neck because of the anti-clockwise layout and the high number of left-hand corners. After three races on very new circuits it will make a nice change to go back to one of the classic old-school tracks. Its a circuit that usually produces good racing and theres also talk of rain, which would add another element into the mix.
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
First of all I want to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me the chance to return to Formula One this year as a race driver. Ive learned a lot during the last two seasons, even as a third driver, and the time has flown by very quickly. Its a great team of people; theyre fun to work with and I think we can be proud of the results we achieved together. Thats why it was not an easy decision to leave, but Im happy to be leaving with good memories. The task now is to end the year in style with a great result.
Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
We hope that Nico will be able to pull off what he did for Williams in 2010 [pole position]. Thats what is needed if we want to catch Sauber! Otherwise I hope we can end the season with a strong result. Two cars in the points would be nice. Up at the front I look forward to seeing how the fight in the drivers championship concludes because its never over until its over. Also, many congratulations to Red Bull for securing the constructors championship in Austin.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 18th, 2011 Race - DNF
The Brazilian Grand Prix is very special and theres no better place to finish the season. The atmosphere is very Latin American and the fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world. Its also close to Venezuela so I always see lots of Venezuelan flags around the track and lots of Venezuelan people around Sao Paulo so it feels a bit like a home Grand Prix. The whole team will want to finish the season with a strong result and head into the winter with some good momentum.
Bruno Senna, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - 17th
Im extremely excited to go back home for the final race of the season. Racing at your home Grand Prix always has a different flavour to it and the energy and excitement you get from the crowd is amazing. Ive only had the chance to race at home in Formula One twice, but on both occasions the crowd gave me an extra boost. Interlagos is a circuit that most drivers like. Its very technical and difficult to get the most out of it so leads to some exciting racing. Weve been improving a lot in the last few races and hopefully we can continue that upward trend and get another double points finish here.
Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer
The 71 lap long high altitude Interlagos circuit is one of the highlights of the season and one where overtaking is possible. Setting the car up for this circuit is the classic compromise between pandering to the high downforce requirements of the medium-low speed corners in sector 2 versus the low drag demands of the uphill section from the important T12 exit right up to the start-finish line. After a double points finish in Austin, we will be looking for a similar result here to end the season on a high note.
Remi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations
Interlagos requires every engine characteristic to be on form; top end power down the long, curved - but also uphill - straight and good driveability through the back section. But the main story about Interlagos is the overall altitude of the circuit; around 800m above sea level, meaning the RS27 could produce around 8 percent less power than at a sea-level race such as Korea. For these reasons we generally use engines with a higher mileage on their third race as power sensitivity is not so critical.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 3rd
Ive had some great experiences racing in Brazil - I won the world championship here in 2009, of course, but I can also remember having strong races here, especially in 2006 when I finished on the podium.
I think we showed in Austin that we have an incredibly quick car, particularly in race trim, and Id love to have a clean weekend, a trouble-free qualifying and then have a good run at scoring some strong points on Sunday. Traditionally, its not been a circuit where weve been at our strongest, but I think this years car has often been strong at tracks where we wouldnt normally have been up there, so I think we have a chance to go for the win.
Of course, Brazil will be the backdrop for the championship showdown - and its a great track upon which to end the season on a high. Im not putting my money on anybody, but I hope we have a fantastic contest and may the best man win.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 4th, 2011 Race - DNF
Brazil has been the scene of some epic races for me during my time at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and, for many reasons, this weekend will be a very big race for me.
I nearly won the title here in 2007, clinched it on the final turn in 08 and drove like crazy to finish on the podium in 09. But Ive never won: and thats what Ill be aiming to do this time around.
As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that Ill give it my all on every single lap. My win in Austin last week was one of the races of my life, and Id love to take victory in Brazil this weekend to give the team the perfect farewell present.
Finally, a word on the championship: its a very finely poised battle, and neither Sebastian nor Fernando can afford to relax for a moment. They are both fantastic drivers, and both have driven superbly all season. Now, well see who takes the final honours - I hope its an epic contest.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
This weekends Brazilian Grand Prix will bring the curtain down on another fascinating and exciting world championship. Additionally, itll be Lewiss final race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - the end of a long, and successful, chapter in the teams history.
I think our win in Austin last weekend has buoyed the team after a couple of disappointing races, and has shown that, in terms of raw speed, the MP4-27 wants for nothing. Thats an encouraging message to be sending home to our engineers and designers for the winter, and also a positive for our drivers, who know that theyll likely be equipped with race-winning machinery for the Interlagos weekend.
The Formula One world championship couldnt ask for a more epic backdrop to the title decider than the sweeps and valleys of Interlagos. Theres little to choose between the performances of Sebastian and Fernando this season, and all I hope for is a fair and true contest on Sunday.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
There is no doubt about it; the greatest day of my career came at Interlagos when I won the world championship in 2007 and that means I have very fond memories of this place. All in all it has been good to me. I have finished here every year since 2003 and been on the podium five times. Actually, in 2003 they gave the winners trophy to me but afterwards it turned out I only got P2. I have lived some of the best moments of my life at this circuit, and thats something nobody can take away. Thats why it is one of my favourite places to go back to. To do well in Sao Paulo you need to have a very solid weekend without problems. Obviously, qualifying on the front row is very important as is a good strong all round package. Also, the engine is important for getting up the hill. I think the key factor is once again downforce, but its also important to have a stable car under braking. The final corner is very important to get right, because it leads onto the steep main straight. I like the old fashioned type of circuits. Interlagos is not in the same group as Spa or Suzuka, but its challenging and we run the laps anti clock-wise which is different from normal. The atmosphere from the crowds is always very good and you never know how the race will be as the weather changes quickly and often.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Its a fantastic track. Its very, very nice and it suits my driving style so Im really looking forward to it. The E20 could be very good there too and should suit to the conditions and circuit. Well, lets hope so! Its interesting with its ups and downs. If I had to pick favourite parts of Interlagos, I would say the first and last corners; they are very fast and as a driver I really enjoy them! Its an old style track so very hard to pick out a single element; Id say everything is pretty good.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
If you look over the years we have seen some fantastic races at Interlagos and the fans are always very enthusiastic. The circuit is unique and it seems to always deliver something special. We hope to be able to offer something to all the teams fans to end the season on high. We obviously want to do our best without detracting from the nice championship battle between Fernando (Alonso) and Sebastian (Vettel). If we can be solidly in the points and ideally fighting for a podium it would be nice. Although there is nothing left to play for in terms of the constructors championship for us, Kimi is still in a tight battle for P3 in the drivers standings so well be going all out to make sure he keeps that spot. Well be aiming to end the season on a high and carry that momentum through the winter break.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
Its a track that puts a premium on horsepower. The car has to be dragged up a long hill to the start-finish straight with engines that are already breathless by virtue of the altitude of the Interlagos circuit. We are pleased to have used our more powerful incarnation Coanda exhaust system in anger in Austin as it will serve us well in Brazil. Although Interlagos is one of the older circuits on the calendar, and we have been there countless times, it throws up many challenges for engineers and drivers alike. It tends to be pretty bumpy, but the severity and the location of the bumps vary from year to year. Its also a track where it can rain suddenly, literally out of the blue from a seemingly clear sky. The long range forecast is showing a high risk of some serious downpours.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - 15th
Interlagos is the right place to round off my career because so much of the fascination of Formula One is rooted there. I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the fans, and it's simply a great circuit which has seen many memorable events and always produces spectacular races as the unique layout guarantees plenty of action. For me, it's also the circuit that brings back my memories of Ayrton (Senna). My departure from Formula One will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense. This time round, I will be able to pay more attention to my farewell and hopefully savour it too. I have had fantastic years in Formula One and a lot of support from fans around the world, and I wish to particularly thank them for that. Of course, I would be happiest if I could say goodbye with a strong race, and I am sure we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 6th, 2011 Race - 7th
The final race in Brazil should be a great occasion with the world championship going right to the end of the season. Hopefully it will be another great show for the fans after the eventful race in Austin. I hope that we can also have a positive weekend with a good performance to end our season well. However our priority is still to learn as much as possible for next year, and we will be doing further work towards that. The weekend will be a special one for our team as Michael is retiring after three years with us. I wish him all the best for the future and it was a great experience for me to race with and against him.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
With the last race of the season in Brazil also bringing Michael's second and final retirement from Formula One, it will be an emotional weekend for everyone in the team. We have both greatly enjoyed and benefited from working with Michael over the past three years, and I would like to pay tribute to his enduring commitment, passion and team spirit. The results that we all hoped for over that period have not come to fruition, however the progress that our team has made has been significant, and I am confident that we will see the rewards in seasons to come. Having worked with Michael for the majority of the 21 seasons of his career, I feel that he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Formula One driver of all time, and we wish him the very best with his future plans. Looking to the race weekend, our aim will be to continue our testing programme for next season, particularly with the evaluation of the 2013 tyre sets which Pirelli will be providing for the two practice sessions on Friday. After a difficult few races, we would like to end this season with a positive result, and we will work hard to achieve that, before our focus can finally turn fully to next year.
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
This weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix will bring a long, hard Formula One season to a close. It will also mark the final Formula One race of Michael Schumacher's career and we must thank him both for his committed contribution to the building-up process of our team and also his performances on track. Michael isn't just the most successful racing driver in the world but also the best known; his ability and character are admired around the globe. We had a competitive car in the first third of this season, as Nico and Michael demonstrated on several occasions. However, we especially needed to catch up in terms of aerodynamics, and to achieve our targets, we made changes in technology and personnel in order to be competitive from the start to the finish of next season. Our goal in Sao Paolo is to bid a respectable farewell to this year. When the 2013 season begins, we want once more to be in the position to score results like those we achieved half a year ago in China and Monaco.
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"It is incredible how time flies and for us to get to Brazil for the last race of the season, after everything weve achieved, makes me very proud. The race in Brazil is always a very special Grand Prix, not only because of the tracks layout but also for the Formula One history and the fans. It is a short but challenging track where it is possible to overtake. But the weather and the possible showers can also play an important role in the races outcome. If that would be the case, we will be ready to take our chances. It is the last race of the season and we will do our best to achieve a good result. It would be something fantastic to do, not only for the whole team that has worked so hard throughout the year, but also for the fans that have been an amazing support this season.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"Interlagos is a circuit that I know and I remember from when I drove there in 2005. I like the track very much and there is also so much heritage of Formula One. The layout has some interesting parts and the fact that it goes up and down makes it quite spectacular. But also the crowds make it a rather special one. For the drivers, it is physically very demanding because it is one of the few circuits that run anticlockwise. It is the last race of the season and we are all highly motivated to do a good job to finish the season in the best possible way.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"After a few races at modern tracks, we head now to one of the most historic circuits on the calendar. The tracks layout is quite a special one and the atmosphere there is fantastic. We are all looking forward to one of the best races of the season where the championship title will be decided. At HRT Formula 1 Team, we will be facing our own challenge but I know that everyone will give their best, as they have done since we started with this amazing project. We managed to build it from scratch in record time and we can all be proud of what we have achieved. I am really proud of every single team member that made this happen, with their effort and commitment, and I am confident that in Brazil we can have a good race. That would be a nice reward for the team to conclude this very long and tough season with a positive result.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Well be bringing some of our 2013 prototype tyres to Brazil in order for the teams to get a taste of them during free practice. With no testing until February otherwise, this will be an extremely valuable opportunity for them to see what our new tyres are like as they finalise their 2013 cars - so lets hope that it doesnt rain on Friday! Both the compounds and construction will be different, which means that the characteristics of the new tyres will be altered, with a wider working range and some compounds that are slightly more aggressive. Weve yet to finalise where exactly all the compounds will sit in relation to each other, which is why we are calling the tyre to be used in Brazil a prototype rather than giving it a specific nomination, but it will be very representative of our general design philosophy next year. Were looking forward to hearing the feedback from the teams about it, and of course sending our 2012 tyres out in style at what is usually a very demanding and thrilling race in Brazil, watched by some of the most passionate and welcoming fans in the world.
Lucas di Grassi, Pirelli test driver
Interlagos is actually where I started my career in go-karts and it is one of my favourite circuits, with a bit of everything, plenty of elevation changes, and a nice rhythm. I believe the track has the highest altitude on the F1 calendar, around 700 metres, which has a big influence on both downforce and engine power. From a tyre point of view, the hard and medium tyre choice should be good. Although the surface is very rough, Interlagos wont consume a lot of tyres: the corners arent so fast and it wont place as many demands on them as Suzuka, for example. Also, we have chosen tyres that are more on the conservative side here. The medium will be the fastest tyre and this will probably be best for qualifying. I suspect it will be a one or two-stop strategy this time. The only unpredictability is the threat of rain but that could make the race even more interesting now that the championship is still wide open.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 16th, 2011 Race - 9th
I like Brazil! I like the Brazilians and I like the Churrascarias. Interlagos is the place where I drove my first Formula One race in 2009, and last year we were in a battle with Toro Rosso for seventh place in the championship, which we were finally able to defend. Im really looking forward to this Grand Prix. Its always special to race in front of the Brazilian fans because they are so enthusiastic about motorsport. I have heard from many different people that I have a lot of fans in Brazil, which is a surprise to me, but a very nice one. I like to race on this track. Tyre management is especially quite a challenge and more pit stops are the result. This will give us the choice of different strategies. This is something we have to focus on. My personal goal is to have a successful race and score as many points as possible.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 13th
The Brazilian Grand Prix will be the last race of a very long season that has seen a lot of ups and downs, and it will be a very special event for me as it is the last race I will drive for my team of Sauber before I leave. It is a great team and I want to thank everybody for everything they have done for me over the last two years. I am sure it will be very emotional for me in Interlagos. The best way to say thank you, of course, would be a great result and to beat the team in front of us. This is my target. The Interlagos circuit is very nice and it also has a great atmosphere with the fans. The support for Formula One is huge there. The Senna S corners are my favourite part of the circuit. I believe and I hope our car should be good enough there for a strong top-ten position.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The Interlagos track presents quite a lot of challenges for the engineers as well as for the drivers. It is a mix of two high-speed sectors, a fast combination at the end of the long straight and then the infield where you need a lot of stability and grip. There are a couple of low-speed corners as well, but also combinations where you have lateral and longitudinal acceleration. There the car needs a good balance. The middle sector is very technical, but in the other two sectors you need speed. It will be crucial to find the right compromise between downforce and drag as well as high aerodynamic efficiency. As the weather is always a factor in Interlagos you also have to adapt the downforce level to those conditions. There is quite a lot of work to be done on various levels for the engineers and the drivers. Pirelli will again provide the medium and the hard compounds, which shouldnt be an issue because this track is more abrasive than the one in Austin. However, if the track is damp this could be tricky. Overall, I expect we should be competitive and in a position to finish the season in a positive way.
More to follow.
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